Iran says US woman arrested for spying

13:00, January 09, 2011      

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Iranian border police said Saturday that they have arrested an American woman suspected of spying, local media reported, contradicting earlier reports.

Deputy commander of state border police Ahmad Geravand said at a press conference that a 34-year-old American woman was arrested at the Jolfa border close to Azerbaijan, Fars news agency reported.

The report said the woman entered Iran from neighboring Armenia.

Iranian police arrested the woman at the Jolfa border who was on a mission for the Americans to film the borders with equipment, and she was then sent to the intelligence ministry, Geravand was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.

Saturday's reports contradicted earlier reports on Thursday.

Farsi-language IRAN newspaper reported Thursday that Iran has arrested a 55-year-old American woman whose name is Hall Talayan on espionage charges, saying she entered Iran without visa via Armenia border with spying equipment in her teeth and was arrested by the security guards.

The report did not mention when the woman was arrested, but the semi-official Fars news agency later in the day quoted an unnamed informed source as saying that the woman was arrested about a week earlier.

However, local Arabic language satellite Al-Alam TV reported later Thursday that Iran denied the earlier reports of arresting an American woman on espionage charges.

The Al-Alam TV said the Iranian border officials prevented the American woman from entering the country via Armenia border because she did not have a visa, and she was sent back to Armenia.

Currently, two detained U.S. hikers, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, are held in an Iranian prison over unlawful entry into Iran 's territory and on espionage charges. Another female U.S. hiker Sarah Shourd, once jailed in Iran with another two U.S. hikers, was released by Tehran's prosecutor in September on bail of 500, 000 U.S. dollars due to her health situation.

Source: Xinhua
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